June 21, 2023
Governor Lisa D. Cook
Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate
Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Scott, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
I am humbled and honored to have been renominated by President Biden to serve a full 14-year term on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
In my work as a Federal Reserve governor, my background and professional experience have proven to be invaluable. I spent my childhood in Milledgeville, Georgia, in the midst of the rural, desegregating South. My dedication to public service was invigorated by observing the courage and resolve of my late parents and other members of my family. We stood alongside friends and neighbors whose names were never recorded, and others, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose memories are engraved in our nation's history.
After being a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University and earning my Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, I engaged in pathbreaking analytical and empirical research on economic growth, innovation, and financial institutions while on the faculty of Harvard University and of Michigan State University and as a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. My professional colleagues elected me to help lead the field as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association, and I was selected as a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In addition, I have gained valuable experience from my work at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
I have significant experience in banking and finance, as is evidenced by my service on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and of a Community Development Financial Institution in Michigan, in addition to my employment at an investment bank and a large commercial bank. Indeed, community banks and other local financial institutions elected me as a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.
When I appeared before you last spring, I pledged to protect the independence of the Federal Reserve. Over the past 13 months, I have been unwavering in my dedication to ensuring that our decisions serve the American people rather than any political or special interests.
As a policymaker, I am committed to following a data-driven approach. My analysis draws extensively on high-frequency data and cutting-edge methodologies. This approach is especially important in a context where the pitfalls of relying on traditional analytical methods have been quite evident.
I am acutely aware that the Federal Reserve's policy actions affect the daily lives of all Americans. The economy can only thrive when everyone can take part and contribute. Therefore, I consistently strive to engage directly with business and community leaders, workers, entrepreneurs, students and retirees, and other Americans. Listening to their experiences and perspectives where they are—from Grand Rapids to Oakland to Spartanburg to Detroit to New Orleans —has been critical for informing my own policy decisions.
I am committed to promoting sustained economic growth in a context of low and stable inflation. A strong economy contributes to broad-based prosperity by bringing people off the sidelines and providing opportunities to develop key job-market skills.
As I stated to this committee last year, elevated inflation is a grave threat to sustaining the expansion of the American economy. Therefore, in my role as a voting member on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), I have been consistently supportive of our rapid and forceful actions to tighten monetary policy and bring inflation down.
If confirmed, I will stay focused on inflation until our job is done. The American economy is at a critical juncture, and it will be essential for the FOMC to act as needed to bring inflation back to our two-percent inflation target.
Senators, it has been an honor to serve the American people. As public servants, we vow to work on behalf of all Americans. I am grateful for your time and attention today, and for your consideration of my nomination. If confirmed, I look forward to continuing to work with you in this important role.
Before concluding, I would like to express my gratitude to all of my family members, especially those here today—my aunt Wivona Murray Ward and my sisters, Melanie and Pamela Cook—for their steadfast encouragement, prayers, and support over many years.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.